KARACHI: Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has said that charitable organisations have assumed the responsibility to provide education and health services to needy people in the country as the state brazenly failed to fulfil its basic obligations.
The governor was addressing the joint fundraiser of the Green Crescent Trust (GCT) and Shahid Afridi Foundation (SAF) on Saturday night. Leading industrialist Sardar Yasin Malik hosted the fundraising event at his residence.
Prominent sports celebrities including Shahid Afridi, Jahangir Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Sadiq Mohammad, Sohaib Mohammad, Qamar Ibrahim, Kashif Jawwad and others attended the fundraiser whose memorabilia were also auctioned on the occasion to generate funds for the educational welfare projects of the two charities.
The Sindh governor, who was the chief guest at the reception, also personally announced Rs500,000 in donation for the same cause, saying that had he been a leading businessmen or industrialist of the country like those present among the audience, he would have announced a much bigger donation for the noble cause being pursued by the two charities.
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"What I have been told here is that the Green Crescent Trust and Shahid Afridi Foundation have been striving to provide education and health services to thousands of needy families but one should keep in mind that it is basically not the job of these two charities to provide these basic services to needy people in the country," said Governor Ismail. "By all means, it is the responsibility of the state to provide the same but it has miserably failed to fulfil all such fundamental obligations," he added.
"Here the wealth and resources of the state have been plundered while rights of the poor people have been denied," he said.
"The ideal state should be the one where you don't find anyone to offer charitable services to if someone starts a welfare school or hospital as has been the case of countries in Europe, especially in its Scandinavian region. Now we have embarked upon the real challenge of establishing such a state here in Pakistan after winning the elections," he said.
The governor lamented that so many successive governments had come to power in the country but they failed to establish even a single hospital of such top quality, which could compel people from Europe to get treatment here in Pakistan.
He said that the present government had launched the health insurance card scheme, under which each beneficiary family would be entitled to get health treatment of up to Rs750,000.
"The beneficiaries of this scheme would be the families who live below the poverty line as never before they had resources to get proper health treatment in the country," he said, adding that they now needed proper hospitals, qualified doctors, paramedics and nurses to treat them. "For this, we once again look towards charities like the SAF and GCT to provide qualified professionals for the health sector," he said.
GCT Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Zahid Saeed said that 29,000 students were enrolled in over 150 charitable schools of his trust as the two charities had joined forces to enrol 100,000 out-of-school children in the province.
He said that 40% of the 29,000 students of the GCT's schools were female, despite the fact that all the institutions were present in remote and rural parts of Sindh.
He said the joint fundraising event had been organised to find sponsors for least 6,000 of these children. Saeed revealed that the GCT had also been running water supply projects for 770 plus villages of Thar - a number that would soon increase, with the total number of its beneficiaries expected to rise to 220,000 persons.
He said that some of the leading top taxpayers of Pakistan also happened to be the patrons and donors of GCT whose services were also duly being recognised in the fundraiser.
Shahid Afridi said that a pathetic and alarming situation in the public health and education sectors had compelled him to start working for the greater humanitarian cause for the countrymen as for him, it was high time to pay back to his native land which gave him immense name and fame.
Global CEO of SAF Zeeshan Afzal said that Shahid Afridi had started its philanthropic work by establishing a charity hospital in Kohat District on his own ancestral land. Thus far, the hospital had provided treatment to 135,000 needy patients of the surrounding areas, including those from Kohat city.
Sports legends Jahangir Khan and Sarfraz Ahmed said that it was an honour for them to be associated with the charity event organised by the two leading charities of Pakistan that had been doing their best to provide basic necessities to people.